February 05, 2007

They're Pita-puffer-riffic!

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There is over three feet of snow in my backyard. It’s cold. I’m not going anywhere but the kitchen. And that’s just fine with me because the theme for this month’s Weekend Cookbook Challenge, hosted by Sara of I Like to Cook is to cook from a newly acquired cookbook. Fantastic! After Christmas I bought myself a few cookbooks, (how sad that I had to do my own cookbook buying, did I not drop enough hints beforehand?) but because of Dorie I haven’t gotten around to cooking too much from them. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’ve had Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros for an entire month and I haven’t made anything from it yet. I look at it quite frequently though, *sigh* it’s beautiful. Some people like flowers, I like cookbooks. As soon as I layed eyes on this book I knew I would love it. I was drawn to the lyrical title and cover photo of cranberry sorbet that looks good enough to lick right off the page. Once you venture past the cover you’ll find that this book’s more than just a pretty face. Falling Cloudberries reads almost like a memoir as Kiros describes how these recipes are a part of her, representing her family and the places she has lived. While flipping through the pages of the book, searching for just the right recipe to try, I came across recipes for pita bread and hummus and I knew that’s what I would be making. It wasn’t the fanciest recipe, but I felt the need to redeem myself as the last time I made pitas it was by request and I wasn’t very impressed with the results.


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Even though I had made the pitas, I didn’t feel like I had completed the pita challenge to a satisfactory degree. My harmony has been off ever since then. I can tell that the pitas have been mocking me, saying that only a rube would lack the talent necessary to make them puff. I’m happy to say that harmony has now been restored and the pitas have apologized for their insubordination. We worked together and this time around my pitas were pita-puffer-riffic! They were so puffy that they brought to mind hot air balloons. If they were any puffier they would have floated right on out of my kitchen. Despite my pita success however, the hummus wasn’t my favourite. I will blame that on two things: the quality of tahini I used and the fact that I like my own roasted red pepper hummus so much that everything else fails in comparison, (except the hummus at the Armenian Kitchen in Toronto, it's darn good). The only thing that saved this particular hummus was the Alejandro and Martin olive oil that I drizzled on top. I used the Olivey and Peppery oil and it got to the point where I stopped eating the hummus and was just dipping my pita bread in the oil. Very tasty.


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Pitta Bread (from Tessa Kiros’ Falling Cloudberries)


10g (1/4 oz) fresh yeast, (I used 4g of active dry yeast)

2 tablespoons olive oil

A pinch of sugar

500g bread flour or all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt


You need a really hot oven to make these and it’s best to cook them in shifts so that there is only a single tray in your oven at any one time. It is a good idea to make a few extra as they freeze well.

Crumble the yeast mixture into a a bowl and add the olive oil, sugar and 100ml of tepid water. Mix through and leave for 10-15 minutes until it starts activating and looks frothy.

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture. Gradually mix the flour into the yeast mixture, adding sufficient extra water to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough is really soft and pliable.

Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with a tea towel, then a heavier towel on top. Leave in a warm, draught-free place for 1-1 ½ hours until it has risen up. Knock the dough down by punching it to knock out all the air and bring it back to its original size. Knead it quickly and divide into 12 portions. Roll them a little and sit them a fair distance apart on a floured surface. Dust lightly with flour, then cover with another cloth. Leave for another 30 minutes or so and they will swell up again.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 230C (425F). Put a baking tray in the hot over for 20 minutes to heat up.

One by one, roll out each ball with a floured rolling pin to make a slightly elongated round of about 16cm. Carefully put them onto the hot baking tray, sprinkle lightly with water and put in the hot oven, not too close to the top. Cook for about 8 minutes or until the breads puff up in the middle and are very lightly golden. Turn over and bake them for another 2 minutes.

Keep the pitas in a basket wrapped with a clean towel. If you won’t be eating them immediately, store in a plastic bag to keep them from hardening. Reheat them for a minute or so in a hot oven or on a barbecue.


**I apologize for the fact that all my pictures are missing on the old posts, it'll be a couple days before that's fixed. Grrrr...



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24 comments:

Abby said...

This Southerner LOVES pitas - stuffed with chicken or egg salad, of course.

K & S said...

yum! pita pockets. you are definite on a cooking and baking roll!

The Gourmand said...

3 feet of snow??? I'll swap you this disgiusting Australian dry hot summer for a nicely chilled winter....
Try being in the kitchen when its probaly cooler in the oven than out.

Gattina said...

I really like dipping the pita bread in nothing but olive oil. Your bread is really power-puff!

Lis said...

Ohh I love pitas! And yours look so puffericious! I'm with Abby - I heart stuffing them with chicken salad. :D

I've never had hummus.. I've lead such a sheltered life.

The TriniGourmet said...

those are some AMAZING looking pitas bri :D Bookmarking to try :D

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

The pitas do look fantastic and that's one I haven't done.
Don't know how much longer I can hold out on the Falling Cloudberries.

Lydia said...

My overwhelming memory of the one time I made pita bread is of flour -- flour everywhere, in the oven floor, on the kitchen floor, and all over me! The bread was good, but at the time we lived four blocks from a pita bakery where, for a whopping 50 cents, we could buy a bag of four large breads, hot from the oven. I never tried making pita again. Yours look lovely! And I agree about the A&M olive oil. It's the best.

wheresmymind said...

Any way to adapt for whole wheat flour?

mickey said...

Those are mighty impressive puffy pitas.

mrbunsrocks said...

So puffy and delicious! Those look great!

For your photobucket issues, have you considered making the switch to flickr? I switched and find it's much better for what I want to do. :) I did have to upgrade to the pro account, but it's worth it. Fabulous network of food photographers on there too, which is also darn sweet.

Kristen said...

I love homemade pita bread. Yours looks so good!

Shawnda said...

Great job on the pitas!

Julie said...

Good work! Those look so yummy. I've been on a kick lately where I make a batch of hummus every two weeks so it's always on hand. When I made pitas a while back, I was so excited when they puffed!

sher said...

Fabulous pictures--you got them in mid-puff! I adore pita bread, particularly if they are made well--and yours surely are. I also have a couple of cookbooks that I received for Christmas and I need to make something from them, so this is the thing to get me going! Now, I'm going to dream about your pita breads!

laura k said...

Oooh, I have been daydreaming about making pitas for a few weeks now. Yours look lovely. Bummer about the hummus recipe, though--I have discovered that it's hard to come across a good one. I'm currently addicted to 40 Spices Hummus (I think made by Tribe) and I can't figure out what yumminess they are putting in that! Tricky, tricky...

veron said...

You made your own pita bread?! I am impressed! I buy mine every week at the supermarket. I should try and make 'em. I wish we had 3 feet of snow. That way I could stay at home and cook.

Linda said...

yummy - burekaboy posted some that were just this puffy recently. guess i'm going to be making pitas tonight!

Natalia said...

I've never made pita bread before, but I really should. Your's looks wonderful. Puffy, speckled with brown patches... just perfect!

Vanessa said...

Those are puffy little devils. I made some last month but only one or two puffed. I'll try your recipe soon and maybe mine'll puff too.

rob said...

Your pitas look beautiful. I love hummus, too, so I'm drooling ever so slightly as I write this. Whereabouts do you get your fresh yeast?

Anonymous said...

Your pitas look great! I'm sorry to hear that your hummus didn't turn out good, I have a great recipe for it if you're ever interested. :) And yes, that Alejandro and Martin olive oil is great! I have two pasta recipes on the "to be posted list" (I'm a bit backlogged on ye old blog) that feature their products. :)


Ari (Baking and Books)

Ian said...

Great recipe! I've never tried to make bread before, but this looks like a starting point. Cheers! :-{>

Emmy said...

The pita bread looks wonderful! The Olivey and Peppery oil sounds divine :)